If you are scheduled for weight loss surgery and forgot to start your pre-op diet then your in the right place.

This article is for individuals who;

  • Cheated and skipped a few days
  • Ate something that you weren’t supposed to
  • Didn’t follow the clear liquid phase

What is the purpose of the pre-op diet?

Well, if you are awaiting weight loss surgery, the pre-op diet is important as it is used as a “liver-shrinking diet”. The liver obstructs the surgeon’s path when performing procedures like gastric sleeve surgery and gastric bypass surgery.

The pre-op diet has 3 main purposes

  1. Shrink the liver: The size of the liver can be a huge obstructive component bariatric surgeons face. If the liver is too big, it can fall down on top of the stomach during the surgery.
  2. Empty the stomach before surgery: The goal of the pre-op diet is to lose as much excess weight as possible before undergoing surgery. A low-calorie diet is one of the best “short-term” diets.
  3. Begin lifestyle changes through new dietary habits: Post-op success is absolutely dependent on lifestyle changes along with healthy eating habits.

Surgeons may turn patients down who do not follow the strict pre-op diet guidelines due to the complications that may arise during surgery.

What’s the benefit of losing weight before bariatric surgery?

This is why it’s important to be mentally prepared and follow the liver-shrinking pre-op diet to the best of your ability. The thinner you are at the time of surgery, the easier it is for surgeons to perform surgery.

Too much excess fat around the abdominal region can be problematic for surgeons. Dropping 10-20 pounds before surgery improves both success rate, surgery effectiveness, and reduces the complication rate.

There are a few things to keep in mind before getting weight loss surgery:

  • Find a protein shake that works for you
  • 15+ grams of protein
  • Low-sugar
  • Under 200 calories

Learn More: When Should I Start the Pre-Op Diet?

What to do if you cheated on the pre-op diet

I didn’t follow the pre-op diet at all, what should I do?

In this case, you should let your surgeon or nutritionist know before you go to surgery so they can discuss the situation with you and determine if it is still safe to have surgery, or perhaps reschedule.

I cheated while on the pre-op diet, what should I do?

Most of the time, one cheat does not make or break your surgery from happening. Keep in mind each time you cheat it does increase the risk of complications/issues during the procedure. If you cheat once or twice, just get right back on the diet as strict as you can for the remainder of time until surgery. If you cheat multiple times you should let your surgeon or nutritionist know so they can determine what to do next. They may decide to alter your diet in some way.

You need to be aware of the importance of following the diet that your surgeon or nutritionist suggested for both your health, safety, and success.

How to shrink your liver in 3 days?

The most important thing is doing the two days of clear liquids prior to surgery so there is no solid food in your system. If patients have had a hard time keeping the pre-op diet, then we recommend doing protein shakes for a couple of days before the two-day liquid diet.

How to make the pre-op diet easier

  • Fill up on vegetables. Cut up a variety of vegetables and place them in a large ziplock bag with some lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Use this to snack on throughout the day to help keep you feeling full as well as keep you on track for surgery.
  • Eat everything you are allowed on your pre-op diet plan. Do not skip meals or protein shakes to try to lose weight quicker.
  • Drink as much water as possible. This will help keep you feeling full and reduce hunger cravings.
  • Use recipes to help. Your meals don’t have to be boring. Use recipes to give you ideas of different spices and herbs you can use, as well as various methods of cooking to change it up. For example, roasted vegetables are much more flavorful than steamed vegetables. Cauliflower can be made into faux rice or mashed “potato”. Zucchini can be turned into noodles to replace pasta. There are many ways to transform vegetables into something special.
  • Remember, the reason you are doing the pre-op diet is for your safety but it is also to set the stage for your life after surgery.  It is important to start building healthy habits beforehand so it is not as difficult after surgery.
    Click here for bariatric dinner recipe ideas!

Consequences of not following the pre-op diet

The biggest consequence of not following the pre-op diet is not being able to commit to changing your life and being able to commit to healthy eating behaviors and habits.

The point of the pre-op diet is not only to make it easier for the surgeon to perform, but also to commit to the nutritional changes that must happen after surgery.

Final thoughts

The most important thing is to try your absolute best. Although the pre-op diet can be difficult for some, it is worth it short-term and long-term. The results of committing to a pre-op diet show the dedication to losing weight and maintaining a healthy life after bariatric surgery is completed.

As hard as it is, just remember – it’s worth it!

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